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cercle du Peintre

Black-figure Hydria: Aeneas and Anchises Escaping from Troy


cercle du Peintre
Active in Attica, Greece, about 530-510 B.C.E.


Black-figure Hydria: Aeneas and Anchises Escaping from Troy


Earthenware, painted and incised decoration


25.7 cm (h.), 24.1 cm (diam.)


Gift of Miss Mabel Molson, inv. 1933.Cb.1


Archeology and World Cultures

Julius Caesar and Augustus very famously appropriated a mythological descendancy in order to legitimate an ancestral claim to power. This type of aggrandizement was utilized as political propaganda, linking them with the goddess Venus and her son Aeneas, founder of the Roman world. Virgil’s Aeneid, which presents its audience with the foundation story of Rome, was supposedly commissioned by the Emperor Augustus in 29 B.C.E. It includes Aeneas’ escape from Troy, represented here, as told through Aeneas’ eyes.

But down she falls, and spreads a ruin thro' the plain.

Descending thence, I scape thro' foes and fire:
Before the goddess, foes and flames retire.
Arriv'd at home, he, for whose only sake,
Or most for his, such toils I undertake,
The good Anchises, whom, by timely flight,
I purpos'd to secure on Ida's height,
Refus'd the journey, resolute to die
And add his fun'rals to the fate of Troy,
Rather than exile and old age sustain.

The Aeneid, translated by John Dryden (1697), Book II

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